"I know. I'm not alone. Not anymore." - Cloud
Cloud and Aeris are from the video game Final Fantasy VII. At the start of the game, he was a mercenary working for a rebel group and she was a flower merchant living in the slums. They first met when he bought a flower from her on the street, and then again when he unexpectedly crashed through the roof of the church where she was tending flowers. She asked him to be her bodyguard to protect her from the Shinra organization and he agreed even though she had no money to offer him in return. After spending time together, her cheerful personality allowed Cloud to open up little by little and we saw a different side of him when he wanted to not only protect her, but also to get to know her. Aeris shared her past with him about how she was the last surviving Ancient, which was the reason Shinra was always pursuing her, and he began to feel personally responsible for her wellbeing. As they grew closer, she provided insight to Cloud that she felt there was more to him and that she wanted to know the true person hiding inside.
I have been a fan of this couple since I first played the game back in 1997 and I still adore them to this day. I loved watching Cloud and Aeris interact throughout the game and find out how important they were to one another. Cloud could come across as very guarded and indifferent in most situations, but when he was with Aeris he seemed to be able to relax and allow himself to have fun even in the midst of the dangerous situations they found themselves in. She convinced him to cross dress in the Wall Market, participate in a stage play on their date at the Gold Saucer, and even during their first meeting he felt comfortable enough around her to gently mock her (lack of) athletic abilities. When Aeris was killed by Sephiroth, Cloud showed true emotion as he cradled her in his arms, and he alone laid her to rest. He kept her memory with him throughout the rest of his mission and in the end of the game expressed his desire to meet her again.
Cloud and Aeris have appeared in many different things after Final Fantasy VII, and although I feel that the story has gotten muddled with all of the additions to the franchise, I do enjoy getting an occasional glimpse into their lives, even in alternate universe stories like Kingdom Hearts. I did mostly enjoy the prequel Crisis Core and the character of Zack, but I felt that game wasn't fair to everything Cloud and Aeris had shared in the main game by attributing many of their moments to Zack (such as first falling through the church roof). In Advent Children, I found it touching how Cloud still thought about Aeris often and wore a pink ribbon around his arm in her memory. He still struggled with overpowering guilt at not being able to protect her, and whether she was just there in his mind or there in spirit, she was able to give him the strength to continue on. In the end of the movie, she showed him that not only was she alright, but that he would be too and that he would never be alone.
Final Fantasy VII
Cloud: "I wonder how Aeris is doing."
Aeris: "Cloud, are you there?"
Cloud: "Aeris!? You safe?"
Aeris: "Yeah, I'm all right." (I knew that Cloud would come for me!)
Cloud: "Hey, I'm your bodyguard, right?"
Aeris: "The deal was for one date, right?"
Aeris: "I learned a lot. The elders taught me many things. About the Cetra... And the Promised Land... I'm... alone... I'm all alone now..."
Cloud: "But I'm... we're here for you, right?
Aeris: "First off, it bothered me how you looked exactly alike. Two completely different people, but look exactly the same. The way you walk, gesture... I think I must have seen him again, in you... But you're different. Things are different... Cloud... I'm searching for you. I want to meet you."
Cloud: "But I'm right here."
Aeris: (I know, I know... what I mean is...) "I want to meet... you."
Aeris: "Hmm, let's see how compatible Cloud and I are!"
Cait Sith: "That'll cost ya. Exactly one date! Here I go! This isn't good. I can't say it. Poor Tifa."
Aeris: "No! Tell me! I promise I won't get mad!"
Cait Sith: "Is that so? Then I'll tell you. Looks good. You are perfect for each other! Aeris' star and Cloud's star! They show a great future! Cloud, I'll be your matchmaker, preacher... I'll do whatever you want me to! You just call me when it all happens!"
Bugenhagen: "What to do? Have you lost your way? When that happens we each have to take a good long look at ourselves. There's always something in the deepest reaches of our hearts. Something buried, or something forgotten. Remember it... Whatever that is, must certainly be what you are all looking for..."
Cloud: "That's easy enough to say... But, I can't remember a thing."
Bugenhagen: "It must be there. Look harder! Do you see it? What is it that you are searching for?"
Cloud: "I remember Aeris a lot."
Cloud: "I know why I'm fighting. I'm fighting to save the planet, and that's that. But besides that, there's something personal too... A very personal memory that I have."
Cloud: "An answer from the Planet... the Promised Land... I think I can meet her... there."
Kingdom Hearts 2
Cloud: "It's nothing. I don't want you involved."
Aeris: "You mean you don't want me there when you go away again?"
Cloud: "I just... Listen, even if I go far away, I'll come back."
Aeris: "Do you mean it?"
Aeris: "See? You don't look so sure. Well, okay, I understand. Go, get things settled."
Aeris: "No matter how far away you are... once you find your light... I'm sure it will lead you back here again. Right?"
Cloud: "I suppose."
Aeris: "So I'll stay here... and I'll cheer for you... Okay, Cloud?"